Coaches Try Not to Ponder Future

From the perspective of Alabama interim head coach Joe Kines, everything not having to do directly with the football team's December 28 Independence Bowl meeting with Oklahoma State can be lumped into the same category: distraction.

That includes the individual situations of every member of the coaching staff, Kines too. On Thursday Buddy Wyatt's next opportunity had already come along, as he left immediately to fill a position at Nebraska. For the rest of the staff time is carved out of each day to pursue opportunities, but Kines is trying to keep that in the background.

"Reality has got to set in on you at some point now," Kines said. "Wives are strange creatures, especially around Christmas. They're real conscious of bills to be paid and children to be educated and fed. All those things begin to take a bearing on these men. My hat's been off to them to this point. This is a good staff.

"Our deal from day one has been to make sure everybody gets as good a shot as they can where we can. There may be some other changes. Hopefully we'll get through the bowl game."

Kines has been an interim head coach once before. That was at Arkansas and he was named interim coach at the beginning of the season.

"I spent three fourths of the time trying to get the job," he said. "That took away a lot of the focus. Right now we're just trying to get through this block of time."

Offensive coordinator Dave Rader said he and his wife have been discussion their family's future.

"I'd like to (continue coaching)," Rader said. "I think I'm a good coach. I'm egotisical enough to think that I am. I sure enjoy the young men."

Special teams coach Dave Ungerer said Friday there's not a great deal of energy that can be usefully put to finding another job before the bowls are finished.

"There's so many things out of your control I don't think it's worth trying to worry about," he said. "The people I've coached with, they're calling and they're concerned and they're working behind the scenes to support me. If something happens that fits, then great, but I'm not worried about that now. I want to give these kids the best opportunity I can."

"I've got three kids and bills like everybody else," Ungerer said, "but my main focus has been on Oklahoma State and I have a big responsibility in that. And in recruiting, I've got some top guys who I'm trying to keep from panicking here."

Quarterback prospect is one of those Ungerer is responsible for recruiting, and while coaches cannot discuss specific recruits because of NCAA rules, the general approach is trying to keep the prospects as informed as possible.

"It's difficult," Ungerer said. "We've established relationships with these parents over long periods of time, so it's not something that just happened the other day. There's a trust factor there, and the biggest thing I've tried to emphasize is I have the kids' best interest in mind."

Ungerer also was asked about a name that has popped up in the periphery of the coaching search, Cal's Jeff Tedford. Ungerer worked for Tedford before coming to Alabama, but said they had not spoken specifically about either's future.

"I talked to him a while ago congratulating him on the season and all that, but he's a heck of a guy and a heck of a coach," Ungerer said. "If Alabama was able to get him they would absolutely love him. He's a heck of a coach and I've got all the respect in the world for him. I know he's just had a huge recruiting weekend out there."


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